Meet the Chef
Brandon Rice toes the line between local and global. With the former, locality is at the crux of his sourcing, maximizing the best of what’s in season at nearby farmers’ market to fill out his menu. But although the products are local, the flavors have a worldly influence, stretching every continent. For this, Brandon draws inspiration from his international travels with his family while growing up. For him, it’s all about pairing familiar flavors with new ingredients, an ethos at the core of Rice’s cooking, which allows him to continually grow and try new cuisines and flavor profiles. “It keeps my cooks engaged with ingredients they may have never cooked with or paired together before.”
Growing up on the East Coast, the Virginia native used to help his mom cook at home, developing an early fondness for food and knowing from a young age that he loved cooking. In high school, he worked at a local restaurant in Roanoke. It was at this time, when Brandon would go right from school to doing prep work at the restaurant in the afternoon, that he realized he could make a career out of cooking. After earning an associate degree in culinary arts at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Rice went on to stage in esteemed kitchens throughout Europe, including Quique Dacosta in Spain and Noma in Copenhagen. He clocked time at Boston’s famed Clio before moving to the Bay Area to work at Coi - his first introduction to Northern Californian cuisine. While working there and experiencing Daniel Patterson’s focus on local, fresh produce, he knew he wanted the Bay Area to be home. From there Rice spent 5 ½ years as Chef De Cuisine at Rich Table in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. It was here that Rice really found his voice and style of cooking.
Rice now lives in Oakland. When he’s not working, Brandon enjoys trap shooting and watching the New England Patriots win.